Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two Months Old

Well, here we are!  Bronwen is two months old and full of personality. She "passed" her two-month well-baby exam today with flying colors. She's 10 lbs 11 oz, 21.75 inches long, with a head circumference of 15 inches. 

She has a small, tan birthmark just under her left eye (not visible in the photos) which has surfaced over the last few weeks. The doc thinks it is too early to tell if it will be permanent or not.

These are smiles, above and below. She gurgles and coos and tries very hard to speak and laugh and giggle. She surprises herself with little gaspy shriek noises.

Today we had a good 10- or 15-minute exchange of goo-goos and smiles while at the doctor's office. The nurse thought it was pretty funny. At one point I said "ooh!" and Bronwen repeated it and immediately started to (try to) laugh. So much fun!

She is still totally laid back. And sweet. She goes with the flow. Sleeping on Papa's chest is still her happy place.

She's quite flexible; does not yet need to be in a special place to sleep or eat. Here, at the Chili Fest on Skidaway last weekend, the Gutsy Dad is feeding her a bottle of breastmilk with his chin so that he can also enjoy some chili. Superdad at work. Super baby, too.

Here she is with Mama on a particularly chilly day.  (It's in the 70s again now, so looking at this picture makes me feel overheated.)  I've been enjoying trying out different slings with her.  She seems to love them all.  This one is a Moby wrap. Makes her feel as light as a feather.

Here she is in the Hotsling I'm borrowing from a friend. This one is easy and so very snuggly. Perfect for our twice-daily walks to the bus stop.

Last but not least, here is our Grinny Grinnerson:

Until next month!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where She Sleeps

As I've written before, Madelyn recently went through a phase in which she got up during naptime, snuck around, and did naughty things. (Remember the confectioner's sugar incident? The Nivea? The removal of every single item from the bureau? No? Where've you been?!)

On a much sweeter note, she also went through (and occasionally still revisits) a phase of simply sleeping in different places. It was startling at first. But then, it sort of grew on me. Especially as I started contemplating the thought-process behind each of these special sleep choices.

It started in her room.

She is supposed to sleep in her bed on the bottom bunk, like this:

Small bits of evidence began to appear, evidence that she wasn't just sweetly lying there all nap long, such as the sneaky addition of socks on her hands, below:

Then she got more daring, climbing up to the top bunk to try out her sister's bed.  (I nearly had a heart attack when I went in after naptime that day and couldn't find her.) 

Soon she ventured out onto the floor of her room, making nests out of blankets and books:

This one is my favorite. It is so carefully constructed:

Then things started to get really interesting. On several occasions we found her sleeping in the hall:

Or on the floor in our bedroom (pardon our mess):

Or having made a snuggle nest on Tilly's dogbed! (Please note -- she took the pillow off our bed):

And on several occasions, we have found her tucked in behind the bunkbeds in the kids' dollbed storage area. What, you can't see her in this picture?

Here's a close-up. Yes, she is wedged into a doll-sized pack'n'play.

Same thing, different day:

Back to her own bedroom. While I would certainly award some creativity points here, I was a bit miffed to have to refold all the clothes that normally go in Jillson's bottom drawer:

Finally, and most strangely, we had this:

This is our guest room. She got under the desk, under the chair, and under the rug. Don't ask me how.

The wheels in that charming little brain of hers are ever-turning, I tell you. 

Ever. Turning.

(All photos taken July thru November 2011.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday Music Mojo: Sweet Pea

A happy little ditty for a Monday morning. Can't believe I haven't posted this one yet.  

For all the cute and tiny produce in your life!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't Ask Me How or When I Made This

It's been a while since I posted anything crafty. 

It's been a while since I've done anything crafty. 

I think life with three kids 5 and under is taking its toll on my creative life. Plus, the spare time I do manage to find is being used in other ways: to read or to dream about reading, to write or to dream about writing, and to dream about working--that is--finding a sense of accomplishment outside of motherhood.

Which is not to say that I don't love and get some sense of accomplishment from my current "job." Nor is to say that I don't dream about papercrafts quite regularly. I think the Gutsy Dad is tired of hearing me exclaim: "Man, I just want to go scrap something!"  

"Then do it already," he says. 

But obligations and other preoccupations step in.  Or, let's face it, sleep steps in. I also dream of sleep.

So here is my latest. I don't even remember when or how I snuck the time in to make it. It was a few weeks ago, maybe.
(photo of Jillson is from her pre-k class in Kansas from last year)

I hope you all are enjoying a beautiful weekend. I sure am.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Favorite Veteran

It is Veteran's Day. My oldest daughter leapt out of bed declaring "It's eleven-eleven-eleven! Today is Vet-rins Day! We get to celebrate soldiers! Papa Papa Papa!"

It is Veteran's Day. My favorite veteran is taking his two oldest children on a typical weekend "adventure:" they are going to the recycling center with a van full of boxes; they are going to the Girl Scout store to get a special pin; they are going to Savannah to get an oil change for the van.

It is Veteran's Day. My favorite veteran is taking me out on a date tonight. We will see The Help (and we expect to be the only ones in the theatre because we are the only people on the planet who have not yet seen the film) and then we'll head out to dinner. Just the two of us.

It is Veteran's Day, and my father, who also served, is coming to spend the night (along with my mother and their dog), to babysit the three girls so that we can have date night. Talk about being grateful for someone's service. Thank you, mom and dad!

It is Veteran's Day, and while I am doing some house chores I am listening to my favorite podcast. Not only did they read my comment aloud (I feel semi-famous!), they are talking about scrapbooking and the military. I have so much to say on this topic, it will have to wait for another day. Most of my readers (all two of you) know the various ways in which scrapbooking is essential to my success as a mil-spouse.

It is Veteran's Day. Thank you to all who have served in our foreign wars. Thank you to those who love them and support them from afar. Thank you to those who strive to find ways to help veterans, especially our country's older and more neglected veterans.

And, as the years go on, may we, as a country and as a global community, have fewer and fewer veterans whom we need to honor.

Imagine a world without veterans. Yes, please.

In the meantime, it's Veteran's Day, and I am grateful beyond words to have my very favorite veteran right here beside me.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dreams in Work Clothes

"Motivation is when your dreams put on work clothes." 
(Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790)

I am changing my clothes as we speak.

The GM

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking the Gut out of Gutsy

I mentioned a few days ago that I had started running again. "Running," you realize, is a term I use rather loosely. My workouts can only be classified as "runs" because here and there I force myself to do just that for a few brief moments. We're talking 9 minutes out of 40, people. I'm hardly Paula Radcliffe.

Nevertheless, I am feeling better about myself (about everything really) because exercise is back in my routine. For running, the routine is like this:

1) I run three days a week.

2) I cannot run two days in a row thanks to my pesky knee.  (This has been true since 2003 and the peak of my running glory days.)

3) Since the classes I like at the Y are on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, this means--by default--that I must have my running days be Mon, Wed, Fri.

4) This also means, by default, that I must take a double jogging stroller, two kids, and many items of distraction with me on every single run.
5) I have to take it veeeeeeeeeeeeeery slowly getting back into it thanks to my pesky lungs. My current average pace is something like 14 minutes per mile. I can almost walk faster than I can run.

6) Every run is 40 minutes long. Twenty out and 20 back. I won't be changing this until my running to walking ratio improves.

7) Every run starts and ends with 5 minutes of walking.

8) The middle 30 minutes of the run consist of six 5-minute run/walk intervals. The first week's interval was Run 30 seconds, Walk 4:30.  The second week I upped it to Run 1 Walk 4. This week I am trying out Run 1:30 Walk 3:30.

9) My only current goal is to get my run/walk ratio back to Run 8 Walk 2, or something very similar.  I'm thinking this will take at least another 7 weeks.
This morning, having missed my Monday and Tuesday workouts, things were stiff and a bit painful. Getting out the door was painful (psychologically). My knees, unloose and unforgiving, were painful. My legs, feeling like they weighed roughly 756 lbs each, were stiff and painful. Extra fat, bouncing around on my rear end, was painful. That extra 30 seconds of running was, you guessed it, painful.

But by the end of the first mile, everything was fine--so fine! I was overcome with a happy spirit. This makes it all worth it: the ridiculous hassle of getting out the door with my entourage, the aches and pains of the first mile or so. Who cares? It was a gorgeous day.

I thanked God for my cooperative children.
I felt strong and hopeful.  I felt I could accomplish anything through hard work. I felt like reciting Invictus. I am the master of my fate or whatever it is. I am the captain of my soul.

Please, someone, the next time I am dragging my heels about working out, or generally feeling sorry for myself, or just plain craving a good high, please remind me of the super-powers exercise possesses.

Lastly, my friends, imagine my delight when I came home and found this in my inbox:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
from the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Isn't it amazing when life is so synergistic?

(You can read "If" here. You can listen to and watch Dennis Hopper recite it here, which I highly recommend. "Invictus" is here.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Music Mojo: Save Me, San Fransisco

I have been loving having this song on my running mix. (Yes, that's right, I said running mix. So, yes, that means I am running again! But that is a post for another day.)  

I first heard this song during the cooldown portion of a step class at the Y while hugely preggers with Bronwen. I remember wondering if the lyrics really were what I thought they were, if he was really saying "Won't you save me, San Francisco?" He was. I stood there stretching my limbs in my post-workout, sweaty bliss thinking about just how much San Francisco did "save me" once.

And I've been thinking about it on my runs ever since. Okay, I didn't really need to be saved, per se.  I was not in distress. I was not looking for Jesus. But San Fran did become a part of who I am. As a place it sort of saved, as in preserved, some essential parts of my personality.

For one whole summer during the college years I lived in San Francisco. I was there to take part in the Summer Training Congress, which is an intense acting school at the American Conservatory Theater

I learned a lot that summer, inside the classroom and out. 

That summer I became comfortable in my own skin. I could be academic and artsy. I could go to church (Glide!) and a matinee. I could be many things at once. I didn't have to pick. Or justify. 

I think in many ways, before that summer, I felt pressure (maybe self-imposed?) to be one thing or another. To be easily defined. But San Francisco saved me from this sort of thinking. Helped me just to be me. Helped me to really practice what I now seem to preach all the time: people are so much more complicated than our culture's labels try to make them out to be.

Most of all, that summer, I fell in love with San Francisco herself.

I loved my twice daily walks, sometimes with my roommate Stacy, sometimes solo, from our apartment up in North Beach down to the theatre and back. I developed some pretty sweet calf muscles that summer.

I loved my brief daily exchanges with Angelo on these walks. He stood outside his shop: tall, Italian, bald, with a beard and a hoop earring. He always wore a black t-shirt and his beefy, tattooed arms were always crossed over his belly, looking rather thuggish. Ciao, bella! he'd say. Come stai, Angelo? I'd reply. He'd laugh at my giant bag of books. I'd ask him for a restaurant recommendation. Somehow I knew if I ever ran into trouble in San Fran that Angelo would have my back.

I loved lining up on Saturday mornings outside Liguria Bakery, which was just around the corner from my apartment, to get my weekly focaccia fix.

I loved the scenes I did for my classes. I can still recite my Desdemona monologues. I recall crawling across a desk while playing the role of a therapist in a scene from Raised in Captivity.

I loved learning the concept of "yes, and..." in my improv class. I apply this lesson to my parenting style all the time, but that, too, is a post for another day.

I loved pining over the dreamy, cocky, and angst-ridden Clayton, a classmate at the Congress. I filled pages in my journal. I wrote slam poetry about him. I got drunk and flirted with him. I got nowhere.

I loved learning everything under the sun regarding vocal production, diction, and accents. I developed amazing control over my soft palate, my lung capacity, and my spoken voice.

I loved exploring the sights of SF with Stacy. We were excellent tourists together. I also love that Stacy and I have seen each other only twice since that summer, but when we do it is as though no time has elapsed. We are ourselves--our theatre selves--with each other, even though neither of us made it professionally in the acting world.

I loved that there was exactly enough room for everyone there to be whomever they truly were.

So here you go. Enjoy your listen. This is the official video, which is pretty corny. I love the nods to The Graduate, and I laughed out loud at the distinctly San Francisco-ish twist at the end.

Side note: If you watch "Up All Night," then you will know (as I do now) that it is apparently totally uncool to like Train, unless you are doing so in an "ironic way." We all know that I am far more sarcastic than I am ironic, so I guess that makes me, unsurprisingly, totally uncool. Hee! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tricks, Then Treats

On Saturday, before we headed out to a Halloween party, we took some practice pictures of the kids in their costumes. Of course, Jillson insisted on using her usual "smile:"

and Madelyn was deeply upset that we wouldn't let her bring her trick-or-treating bag to the party:

Thankfully, on actual Halloween, the girls were all smiles.

"Let's get out of here!" the good witch proclaimed.

And they were off:

All the while, our littlest trickster was like this upstairs:

Today, however, Bronnie obligingly let me put her in her Halloween get-up for a few photos. You know, for posterity.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Oh, Georgia.

1. There is a sign at a nearby Hardee's that says "It's back! Fried bologna biscuit!" Now please understand, I love a good biscuit as much as the next (bread-lovin') gal, but why would you go and ruin it by topping it with fried bologna of all things? Ewwww!

2. On a related note, when I was checking out at the grocery store the other day, having forgotten to haul in my stash of reusable canvas bags, the clerk apologized for packing my stuff into an excess of plastic bags.  "Oh, well," she said, "I guess you can always use them for chicken fat, right?" Um, right. I've been trying to figure that one out ever since.

3. We had the most polite trick-or-treaters ever last night. They all said thank you and yes ma'am and only took one piece of candy each. The neighborhood trick-or-treating hours were from 6 to 8pm, and everyone adhered to it.

4. Many of the trick-or-treaters were ferried around from house to house by their parents on golf carts before dark. I remember half the fun of Halloween (or maybe the whole purpose) was running all over kingdom come in the pitch dark with no parental supervision whatsoever. Welcome to modern suburbia, I guess!

This place cracks me up. I love it here (I mean really love it), but it does have its, um, quirks.